- Associated Press - Friday, June 16, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to hit 2.9 percent in May, the Nebraska Labor Department said Friday.

The May rate was three-tenths of a point under the year-ago rate of 3.2 percent and remained well below the U.S. rate of 4.3 percent.

“Nebraska continues to see a steady increase in job growth,” state Labor Commissioner John Albin said. “The state and all three metropolitan areas showed job increases both month-to-month and year-to-year for May, and the total number of nonfarm jobs in May is the highest monthly total on record.”

Nonfarm employment was 1,035,008, up 12,125 over the year and up 10,664 over the month. Private industries with the most growth on year were professional and business services, up 3,217; trade, transportation and utilities, up 2,351; and financial activities, up 2,251.

The preliminary Omaha-area rate remained at 2.9 percent in May, which was two-tenths of a point under the year-ago figure of 3.1 percent. Lincoln’s preliminary rate rose to 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent in April. It was down a tenth from 2.7 percent a year ago. Grand Island’s preliminary rate plunged to 2.9 percent from 3.5 percent in April. The rate in May 2016 was 3.3 percent.

The unemployment rates for Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha have not been seasonally adjusted, so they cannot be directly compared with the state unemployment rate.

Here are preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for May, followed by the revised April rates:

- Beatrice: 3.0, 3.1

- Columbus: 2.9, 2.9

- Fremont: 2.7, 2.7

- Hastings: 2.9, 2.9

- Kearney: 2.5, 2.2

- Lexington: 2.6, 2.7

- Norfolk: 2.5, 2.5

- North Platte: 2.7, 2.9

- Red Willow: 2.7, 2.5

- Scottsbluff: 3.2, 3.4

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